LONDON - My Family Travels

Who would have thought that I plain Native American boy from North Carolina would ever go to the United Kingdom. I still can’t believe I spent New Years in London. However I do have pictures to prove. You see I have a uncle in the Air Force who was stationed at Fort Mildenhall. So my mom decided to visit right after Christmas 2008. To read about these places in History and then to see it and touch it is breath taking.


WOW! The London Eye has grown in popularity to be become the most popular paid attraction in the United Kingdom and I have taken a ride on it.


These eye flights, as they are so often called, consist of a single 30 minute rotation in a capsule, providing a panorama of central London. It was so amazing to see how history has occurred in such a small of land. From the Eye, it becomes easier to separate the must sees from the maybes. 


Navigating is as simple as taking the tube (subway). But remember to “mind the gap” since that’s what you will hear while you wait for the tube or when exiting the tube. You see there is a bit of a gap between the door of the tube and the deck. So remember “mind the gap”. You may also jump up a bright red double decker bus.  In which we did take a bus to Cambridge.


The Tower of London is a famously remembered as a palace, a fortress, a prison and a place of execution. Does Anne Boleyn ring any bells? Technically still an official royal residence, it is guarded over by the Yeomen Warders, often called Beefeaters, who serve as tour guides with a droll wit and casual remarks about darker pieces of history, such as the Bloody Tower, the Traitors Gate and the suspected slaying of young heirs to the throne.


Ever since Queen Victoria moved into Buckingham Palace in 1837, a detachment of guards stood watch at the royal residence, every day during summer and every other day in winter, the Changing of the Guards takes place in full pageantry. From the Drum Corps to the Foot Soldiers to Mounted Guard, bright redcoats parade to Buckingham and the great statue of Queen Victoria herself. To experience history is indescribable.


Where to stay in London is a significant-and easy-decision. Charing Cross station is the apex between large commuter trains (to the airports), the tube and buses. The London Eye is just a short stroll away; Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery are even closer. Guoman Hotels’ Charing Cross aptly mixes architectural history with modern convenience, and its location is absolutely central. Looking for the royal treatment? I didn’t have the luxury at staying at some of these places. We stayed with my Uncle on the Air Force Base.


Many have described dining in London as adventurous…and that’s a good thing. Every taste from every culture can be found here, as once the English empire spanned the globe. Not far from Charing Cross is casual dining and shopping at Covent Garden. In the Soho district of London’s famous West End, dining and shopping range from casual to upscale. This is also the spot for theater, and catching a “West End Show” after dinner is a must on any visit.

Sadly, there’s too much in London to see on one trip. However, a spin around on the London Eye lets you claim to have “seen it all” if only from the birds eye view. 



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